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Malta - Classic Cultural Programme
The Maltese Islands owe their wealth in culture and history to the succession of nations who have visited and left their indelible imprint. The first humans on Malta are believed to have crossed over from Sicily and settled on the Islands of Malta 7000 years ago. They quickly adapted to their environment and started erecting temples in 4000 BC. In 60 AD, St Paul was shipwrecked on the island and brought with him Christianity. After a period of occupation by the Phoenicians, Romans and Arabs, the Knights of the Order of St John established their headquarter in Malta. A golden era in culture, architecture  and the arts followed. Today everywhere you look around the islands – the majestic palaces, the imposing fortifications and the ornate churches – you meet vivid reminders of the period’s legacy. This 6 days programme will allow you to discover the rich history and culture of the Maltese Islands.

Day 1
We start our tour of Valletta with a visit to the Upper Barakka Gardens. Situated near the entrance of the city, these Gardens offer a magnificient panoramic view over the Grand Harbour and the Three Cities.
We will then visit the Archeological Museum where several artifacts and figurines found in Malta’s pre-historic temples are displayed. This visit will give us an insight into the rich archeological past of Malta.
Before lunch, we will visit one of the jewels of Malta: St John’s Co-Cathedral. It houses the famous “Beheading of St John” by Caravaggio and many treasures of the Knights.
After lunch, we will visit the Grand Master’s Palace, which houses the armoury and the portraits of the Grand Masters of the Knights of St John. We will also visit the Tapestry Chambers to see the beautiful Gobelin tapestries.
One final stop of the day will be at the Malta Experience, an audiovisual show depicting 7000 years of Malta’s history. 

Day 2
Today’s excursion takes us to the south of Malta. We first visit the Megalithic Temples of Tarxien . These four temples bear witness to the aestetic and technical capabilities of our ancestors. We then visit Ghar Dalam in Birzebuggia. This natural cave contains fossiles of animals such as dwarf elephant and hippopotamus as well as detritus from the Neolithic and Bronze Ages.
We will then stop at the fishing village of Marsaxlokk and stroll around its market and promenade.
After lunch we will proceed to visit the Temples of Hagar Qim. You will certainly be impressed by its gigangic stone blocks and its neatly arranged façade. A shrine was built in the outer wall and several characteritics of temple building techniques can be discovered such as the rope holes, the roller stones, the apsidal arrangement, the pitted decoration and the oracular chamber. Several fat “Venuses” of Malta were also found at this site. 
Near Hagar Qim are the three temples of Mnajdra situated in unspoiled settings.  The Upper Temple contains a shrine and an altar. The Lower Temple has a more imposing entrance reached by steps. The South unit of the temples complex is perfectly aligned with the rising sun at the equinox. Also to be noticed are the corbelling sections of these temples.

Day 3
The Island of Gozo is smaller than its sister island Malta and has a quite distinct character. Its idyllic scenery and peacefulness are a source of inspiration to many a visitor.
We will first visit the impressive Ggantija Temples translated from Maltese as Gigantic Temples referring to the sheer size of its perimeter walls. This megalithic structure consists of two temples with five apses. Some of the stones are engraved with spirals and pitted holes.
Before lunch we will visit the citadel of Victoria, built to protect the inhabitants of Gozo during attacks by pirates. Inside the Citadel we will stop at the archeological museum, which contains finds from the Ggantija excavation as well as items dating back to the Punic, Roman, and Byzantine periods. We will also stop at the St George’s Basilica, a magnificient church situated in a maze of narrow streets.
Finally we will drive to Dwejra to admire the azure window cut in the rock as well as the inland sea.
We will go back to the ferry at Mgarr where we will depart for Malta. (crossing takes about 30 minutes).

Day 4
Facing Valletta, the Three Cities (Vittoriosa, Senglea and Cospicua) were all built and fortified before the capital city and served as the first headquarter of the Knights at Fort San Angelo. We will first stop at the Inquisitor’s Palace, established in  Malta in 1562. The Palace houses the coats of arms of the various Inquisitors, including two who became popes, and the notorious prisons.
We also visit the Maritime Museum, witness to the great maritime heritage and strategic position of Malta in the Mediterranean.
After lunch, we will visit the most remarkable of Malta’s prehistoric monuments: the Hal Saflieni Hypogeum. This UNESCO World Heritage Site has undergone extensive restoration and is now opened to the pubic, with limited visits in order to preserve it. It is an underground sanctuary split in three levels where the cult of the dead is closely linked with that of Mother Earth. It is believed to have had two functions, one as a vast burial ground where human and animal bones were found and the other as a place of worship because of its similarities with the other Megalithic Temples.

Day 5
Today’s excursion takes us to Mdina, the ancient capital city of Malta, also called the “Silent City”. We will take a walk around the city and admire the panoramic view of most of the island from the bastions. We will stop at the Cathedral of St Paul and admire the frescoes depicting the life of St. Paul and the beautiful works of Dürer.
We will then visit the Roman Villa museum, where mosaic floors were uncovered and busts and heads of various Roman emperors are displayed. We will proceed to the St Agatha’s Catacombs, a network of beautifully frescoed galleries and passageways built in 5 AD.
After lunch we will stop at Clapham Junction to have a look at the cart ruts (parallel deep cuts in the rock) whose origin and use are a source of much archeological debate.
We will then proceed to visit the Dome of St Mary in Mosta which is said to be the third largest in the world.

Day 6
We will go back to Valletta on the last day to visit the National Museum of Fine Arts which houses masterpieces dating back to the Knights of Malta. We will then proceed to the Manoel Theatre. The theatre bears the name of its founder The Grandmaster Manoel De Vilhena and was intended to provide “decent leisure time activities to the Knights”
In the afternoon, we sail on a pleasure boat to visit the natural ports of Marsamxett and the Grand Harbour whose natural creeks make it one of the most beautiful in Europe. The views of the fortifications from the seaward side are unique and will allow you to see the beauty of Valletta from a different angle. 

Please inquire for rate for your group.

All entrance fees to above mentioned sites. Transfers airport to hotel to airport, all lunches, transport by private air conditioned vehicle, local multilingual guide.


What Else!

Ask what other areas can be combined with Malta for a longer vacation.


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